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Kristin Bettencourt: Turlock's biggest supporter
Kristin Bettencourt rides on the Salvation Army's float in the Fourth of July parade in downtown Turlock, one of the many projects she helped make a reality in 2015. - photo by Photo Contributed

As the year comes to a close, many find themselves reflecting on their personal achievements. When Kristin Bettencourt reflects on her year, it’s full of the amount of money raised for nonprofits, awareness brought to important issues and the increased sense of community fostered —all for the betterment of Turlock.

Bettencourt, a textbook clerk at Turlock High School, is very much involved with the community, as her roots stem here in this Central Valley town.

“I was born and raised in Turlock, my parents live here, my grandparents live here, these are my roots,” she said. “I know there are bigger things in the world other than Turlock, but I have a connection to help what’s in front of me and locally within my circle and my community.”  

Throughout the year, Bettencourt has worn many different hats as she was a liaison and team captain for Relay for Life, an advisory board member for The Salvation Army, a member of the board of directors for The Arrowhead Club and the president of the Dancing with the Turlock Stars event.

Her year of involvement begins just after the ball drops on New Year's Eve.

“January is when I hit it hard with Relay for Life; anyone who knows me knows how important this fundraiser is to me,” said Bettencourt.

For 12 years now Bettencourt has managed a team of about 200 Turlock High School students who fundraise for Relay for Life and last year they raised approximately $36,000.

“With the economy we’re in, it takes a lot of people doing their part to raise money, and that’s what we did,” she said. “We chipped away with different fundraising events throughout the year, little things here and there — it just all adds up.”

Bettencourt gives each student the goal of raising $100 and she is proud that most of them well surpassed that.  She also has gone a step further and incorporated a group of about 30 school age children called, “The Bull Pups” with the goal of teaching them the importance of fundraising for a good cause at a young age.

“My spring is dedicated to Relay for Life, with a couple events for the Arrowhead board, as well,” she said.

The Arrowhead board raises money for youth athletics in the greater Stanislaus County and Bettencourt assisted in organizing their golf tournament that brought in about $25,000.

That’s just when her year was getting started.

Around that same time the planning for Dancing with the Turlock Stars begins which takes her through September.

This year, Bettencourt explained, they were so proud that Dancing with the Turlock Stars became its own nonprofit rather than under the umbrella of The Salvation Army.

“It always seems like its one event to the next, but I love the challenge each one brings and there’s always fun in each one… some things I enjoy more than others though, and I just love Dancing with the Turlock Stars,” said Bettencourt. “There’s so much joy from the participants, the crowd and the people that work on it. It’s really become a niche in our community and hopefully we can run with it for several years.”

The Salvation Army gets its fair share of Bettencourt as she contributes to all events, including their St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl in March, the Clay Shooting Charity Tournament in April, the Moonlight and Margarita Night in August, the Kettle-Cook Off “Dash for Cash,” the Santa Pub Crawl and the annual Bell Ringing Mayor competition that brought home first place this year for Turlock, to name a few.

“I wouldn’t be able to do any of this alone. I’m surrounded by hardworking fellow board members, students, friends and family in everything that I do,” said Bettencourt. “Some of my closest and most cherished friendships have come through my volunteering and fundraiser work.”

Bettencourt noted that almost every event she has been a part of have has either met or exceeded its goal, and she attributes that success to the generosity of the community of Turlock.

“People support fundraising here in Turlock and I’m fortunate for how well they respond to me. I love our town, I love the people here — and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”